December 2019

Idris Elba awarded Brand Ambassador status in Sierra Leone.

Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio meets Film actor Idris Elba, awards him with a Brand Ambassador Status.

His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has issued the British Hollywood actor and musician, Idris Elba, with a Sierra Leonean Diplomatic Passport and pronounced him a Brand Ambassador for the small resource-rich West African nation.

During a meeting at the State Lodge on Hill Station, President Bio said that Mr Elba’s visit to Sierra Leone had been long-awaited, saying that he could feel his burning desire to come back home to be welcomed by his country people. He said that the country had gone through a lot with a scarred image, which needed a conscientious effort from everyone to change that perception and create a new narrative.

“We have tried our best to change the narrative but we need more hands on deck. With you, we have a capable hand to join my government in shaping the future of this country – telling the world a new narrative about a Sierra Leone that is ready to grow and a nation that is ready to be the hub for innovation and technology in Africa and a nation that is looking forward.

“We are conferring you a citizenship of this country and to make you a Brand Ambassador of Sierra Leone. We want to tap into your network to be able to tell the world that the little nation they knew for bad things is now a new Sierra Leone. We want to let the world know that Sierra Leone is now ready for business,” he said.

Receiving the passport, Idris Elba said that he was honoured and thankful for the opportunity to become a citizen of his father’s country, noting that it was an honour for his family. He said he had always wanted to come to Sierra Leone and make a mark adding that he was thankful that his career had afforded him and family the ability to come back to Sierra Leone with determination to rebrand the country.

“This is my first visit to Sierra Leone but will not be my last. I will love to bring with me the new energy that President Bio is so focused on. I am very excited for this honour and I want to take this honour to make the President and people of Sierra Leone proud of me,’’ he said.

Elba’s father, Winston Elba, migrated from Sierra Leone to the United Kingdom in the late 1960s where he met with his Ghanaian mother, Eve Elba. He is also a producer and director continually securing his place as one of the most versatile performers in Hollywood. He is a winner of several accolades for his distinguished service in the field of entertainment. In addition to his Golden Globe win, he is the first male actor to receive dual Screen Actors Guild awards in one evening.



Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs (MTCA) in partnership Visit Sierra Leone (VSL) to end-host world’s largest amateur rally.

Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs (MTCA) in partnership with one of the leading tour operators in the country known as Visit Sierra Leone (VSL) has on December 9th 2019 held a press conference to update the public on plans to host the reputable BUDAPEST-BAMAKO Rally (B-BR 2020) as its final destination.

Held at the MTCA Conference hall in Freetown, Mr Mohamed Jalloh Director of Tourism while chairing the occasion, disclosed that the press was invited to sensitize and prepare public support to ensure Sierra Leone benefits immensely from this charitable adventure, being the final destination country starting from the Hungarian capital, Budapest via Spain, Mauritania and finally into Freetown SL through Kambia/Guinea Border. Also as part of his welcome address, the Director described the opportunity as ” Being the first in its kind in SL” with the tourism vehicular road caravan starting from January 31st 2019 and ending on the 16th February 2019 at the National Stadium where H.E. President Bio is expected to address a host of international tourists from 80 countries. He justified how such huge visit will further enhance the enabling environment to transform the face of Sierra Leone’s tourism sector.

The CEO of VSL, Mr Bimbola Carol facilitator of the said humanitarian adventure, assessed the forthcoming tour as one of the biggest tourism markets for the nation since the end of the decade long civil unrest as he appealed to the media for cooperation to sensitize the country positively, describing them as logistic partners in complementing His Excellency’s tourism-rebranding dream.

Madam Estelle, the Brussels Airline representative remarked that the Airline is proud to be the official sponsor of the B-BR 2020; declining that it’s not a competition but a humanitarian venture to promote sharing of experience, livelihood support and discovery.

Briefing the media on the journey’s background, the lead B-BR 2020 coordinator Mr G. Szabo, recalled his awful flight cancellation experience in Conakry, Guinea in 2004 due to plane crash forcing him to an alternative road drive back home in Hungary. He delightfully chronicled the massive increase in the number of participants in the said African tour from 100 in 2005 to 700 in 2020. Mr Szabo, however, revealed the scepticism initially harboured by the majority of international tourists about their security in SL as he briefed the press on some positive moves he has made to frankly convince them about SL being a peaceful destination worth seeing and explore.

In her keynote address, The Hon. Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs Dr. Memunatu B. Pratt, while acknowledging VSL as one of the credible service providers in the country, commended the CEO for partnering with the Ministry to make SL a world- classed tourism destination. She maintained that this objective can only be achieved through a strong public-private partnership engagement. The Hon. Minister recalled the 1970s and 80s Paris Rally that SL ones witnessed as she described the forthcoming B-BR 2020 as a unique venture and an opportunity to offer such an interesting experience to the current generation of Sierra Leoneans.

Reminding the press about the top-ranking status of SL in the recent global International Safety Index assessment, Dr. Pratt encouraged the public to be aware of the said event, gearing up public expectation to offer the best hospitable behaviour to attract international visitors some of whom may consider the country for a permanent stay even after the said charity tour. “Sierra Leone has been removed from the list of high-risk zones due to tremendous efforts of Government supported by its citizens, which has led to some socio-economic and political stability, being a recipe for sustainable the tourism that the country needs to maintain and improve upon as a resilient nation,” she confirmed.

Meanwhile, some critical questions from journalists were satisfactorily responded to by the Ministry and partners present.



National Geographic-These African lodges lead the way in wildlife conservation here’s where to see majestic animals and help to preserve their habitat in Sierra Leone, Rwanda, and South Africa.


These African lodges lead the way in wildlife conservation here’s where to see majestic animals and help to preserve their habitat in Sierra Leone, Rwanda, and South Africa.


Wildlife excursions in Africa are going deeper, highlighting less-visited regions and ecosystems while also leading the charge for conservation in innovative ways. Here are three unconventional safaris in Sierra Leone, Rwanda, and South Africa that reveal as well as protect the extraordinary animals that travelers long to see.

Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary, Sierra Leone Why go: This pioneering chimpanzee center helps advance the legacy of Jane Goodall. Inspired by a conversation with primatologist and National Geographic explorer Jane Goodall about two chimps he had rescued, Tacugama founder Bala Amarasekaran opened a chimpanzee sanctuary and rehabilitation center in Sierra Leone in 1995.

Since its founding, Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary has sheltered hundreds of critically endangered western chimpanzees, many of them orphans rescued from wildlife trafficking or from being hunted for bushmeat. The chimps roam five semi-forested enclosures, some as large as 16 acres, on the sanctuary’s grounds in Western Area Peninsula Park, a biodiversity hotspot. Viewing platforms allow visitors to see the chimps’ human-like behavior up close—they’re our closest living relatives with a 98.6 percent DNA match—and extended stays in the sanctuary’s treehouse lodges showcase life in the rainforest. “You wake up in the canopy, amongst the trees, to the smell of orchid perfume,” says Aram Kazandjian, Tacugama’s development manager.

All proceeds go toward the sanctuary’s operation and other conservation projects. Tacugama has also taken a leading role in national policy and international advocacy, working with the Sierra Leone government, the World Bank, and Interpol to prevent wildlife trafficking, tighten laws on bushmeat hunting, and add environmental workbooks to the school curriculum. “We’re still receiving baby and orphan chimpanzees at an alarming rate,” Kazandjian says. “Species are driven to extinction by human activities, and we have to fight that.”

When Goodall visited in February 2019, the sanctuary had a surprise for her: Due to Tacugama’s initiative, Sierra Leone 10/12/2019, 11>15 Page 1 of 4 has now named the chimpanzee its national animal. Safari planner: On September 5, 2019, Sierra Leone launched a visa-on-arrival program, making it much easier for travelers to visit the country. An easy 35-minute drive from Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capital, the sanctuary offers daily tours or overnight stays in its six ecolodges, which are designed as treehouses or traditional roundhouses and have decks with outdoor hammocks overlooking the rainforest. Tacugama is developing the first ecotourism circuit around the country, to include Jaibui Island and Loma Mountains National Park.

Freetown Forum – Agenda for Action on Women’s Empowerment in Tourism

We, the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs in collaboration with development partners, acknowledge the following:

  1. Tourism accounts for an estimated 10.4% of the world’s GDP, considering its direct, indirect and induced impacts (WTTC, 2019), and the tourism sector accounts directly for 3% of the GDP of the G20 economies (UNWTO, 2019);
  2. Globally, tourism represents one of the fastest-growing and resilient economic activities – forecasts indicate that tourism will experience sustained growth in the coming years, reaching 1.8 billion international tourist arrivals in 2030, up from 4 billion in 2018 (UNWTO, 2019);
  3. Tourism is one of the main sectors driving economic integration and socio-economic development, and creating jobs in many other sectors, including agriculture, construction, manufacturing, retail, handicrafts, cultural and creative industries, financial services, information and communication technologies (World Bank, 2017);
  4. Tourism accounts for a higher share of women’s employment and entrepreneurship as compared to the whole economy, and is a driving force for social inclusion including, but not limited to, women, young people, persons with disabilities, migrants, indigenous and tribal peoples, and rural populations (UNWTO, 2019);
  5. Tourism is a sector made up mostly of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)  providing   major   opportunities  for young and female entrepreneurial talent, and for integrating SMEs and start-ups into the value chain (G20 Osaka leaders);

Taking into consideration:

  1. The 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone, Chapter II, Section 9(1) and 9(2) (a) of provides for gender equality in education and outline directives that secure women’s rights to equitable access to and benefit from education and the 17.2 Education Act 2004;
  2. That nationally, the empowerment of women, youth and persons with disabilities is a core component of the Medium- Term National Development Plan (2019-2023) and tourism is a priority sector in the New Direction Agenda;
  3. The National Policy on Gender Mainstreaming (2000) the National Policy on Women’s Empowerment (2000), the National Action Plan on the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325, on Women, Peace, and Security, (2000), and the Local Content Policy of the National Tourism Policy and National Cultural Policy;
  4. The Chieftaincy Act No. 10 of 2009, Section 8 that makes women eligible to contest for and become Paramount Chiefs, the Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Bill, which establishes a minimum of 30 percent representation of women in governance at all levels;
  5. The Africa Agenda 2063, Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the G20 Osaka Tourism Ministers Declaration on Advancing Tourism’s Contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs);
  6. The seven key findings of the Global Report on Women and Tourism Second Edition, 2019 which state:
  1. Targeted interventions by public, private and civil society actors, such as promoting equal pay, tackling sexual harassment and recruiting women into high-level employment, help to promote decent work for women in tourism.
  2. Gender-sensitive legal and macroeconomic policies at the national level increase women’s economic empowerment in the tourism sector when they are implemented effectively.
  3. Investment in skills training for women, including training on soft skills and awareness-raising on available training opportunities, and gender equality training across the sector lead to greater outcomes for gender equality.
  4. Gender equality strategies for the tourism sector are vital for women’s empowerment, and must be backed by institutional and budgetary support.
  5. Women can be empowered politically and socially through tourism when links are made with the broader community and civil society organizations.
  6. When targeted gender-sensitive training is provided and women have access to appropriate technology,  the digitalization of tourism can offer exciting new opportunities for women’s innovation and empowerment.
  7. The availability of sex-disaggregated tourism data allows for better-targeted gender equality interventions in the sector and leads to greater women‘s empowerment.

Agree to work with policymakers, businesses, national and local government authorities, cooperatives, international organizations and NGOs towards implementation of the 2019 UNWTO Global Report on Women and Tourism Action Plan.

Action Plan


Take measures to tackle the gender pay gap in tourism.

Address social protection and unpaid work for women in tourism.

Systematically address the sexual harassment of women workers in the tourism sector, as well as issues of harassment in tourism communities against community members and travellers.

Develop and institutionalize gender equality strategies for the tourism sector.

Challenge gender-stereotypes in tourism sub-occupations.


Work to ensure that women’s tourism businesses can become formalized, if they wish to be, and contribute to women’s financial inclusion.

Expand and diversify women’s market access and fair trade for their tourism products and services.

Support women to expand and diversify their tourism products and services.

Introduce measures to improve women’s work-life balance in tourism and encourage an equal division of unpaid care work in tourism communities.

Expand women’s access to digital technologies, including digital tourism platforms.

Leadership, policy and decision-making

Work towards gender balance in senior management of tourism companies.

Address the lack of high-level women’s leadership in decision- making spaces in the private sector, public sector tourism bodies and agencies.

Ensure International Labor Organization (ILO) policies on maternity and care responsibilities are respected.

Actively support women’s representation and leadership in trade unions.

Education and training

Develop training programs for women in tourism, including training on soft skills, networking and high-level training for career progression.

Provide targeted training for women to ensure that they can use digital technologies to innovate through digital technologies in tourism.

Provide gender equality training for tourism policy-makers, managers and employees.

Encourage the participation of female students and graduates in tourism studies and qualifications.

Community and civil society

Facilitate women’s voice in the community and household decision-making.

Ensure gender equality and human rights commitments at the national level are met and implemented effectively.

Support women’s tourism networks, NGOs and tourism cooperatives to actively work towards women’s empowerment in the sector.

Measurement for better policies

Regularly collect and report data that is disaggregated by sex on employment in the tourism sector and, where possible, formal and informal tourism employment, gender pay gaps, entrepreneurship, education and training, leadership and decision-making, time use and work-life balance.

Regularly provide data disaggregated by sex on employment in the tourism sector to UNWTO.

Conduct gender analysis, consult civil society actors, integrate a gender perspective into all phases of the tourism policy and program cycle.


In collaboration with